A chimney fire is a frightening experience. Not only is your home in danger, but it also puts your family at risk. Here are a few helpful tips to prevent a chimney fire and keep your property and loved ones safe.
Clean the Chimney to Prevent a Fire
One of the best ways to prevent chimney fires is to have your chimney inspected and cleaned regularly. Brushing the flue removes the creosote buildup inside. Creosote is a combustible substance that accumulates as a by-product of burning wood. A professional chimney sweep has the tools and experience to clean the chimney and remove creosote, leaves, and animal nests safely and effectively.
Declutter the Hearth
Another way to prevent chimney fires is to make sure the area around your fireplace is clutter-free and clear of flammable materials. Move rugs, draperies, and furniture a safe distance away from the flames. Items like newspapers, magazines, and extra firewood are also combustible, so be sure to store them away from the hearth. Maintain a clearance of at least five feet around the fireplace.
Choose the Right Firewood to Prevent a Chimney Fire
It is important to use the proper fuel for your fireplace. To reduce creosote buildup, only burn wood that is dry and seasoned for at least six months. Freshly cut or “green” wood and damp firewood produce more smoke and creosote. Use a moisture meter to test the moisture content of the wood before using it in the fireplace.
Inspect the exterior of your home for branches that overhang the roof and grow near the chimney. Hire a professional arborist to prune branches to prevent them from catching fire if stray embers float up the flue.
Clear dead leaves, pine needles, and debris from your home’s gutters. When the weather is dry, stray sparks may cause them to catch fire.
Test the Smoke Detectors
Finally, be sure to have working smoke detectors in your home. These will alert you in case a fire breaks out in your home. Test the devices monthly and replace the batteries twice each year. Install a smoke detector on every floor of the house and in every bedroom.
Following these tips will help prevent chimney fires and keep your family and house safe. If you have any concerns about your chimney, consult a professional. They will help identify potential hazards and give you maintenance advice.